Q-23, by Paul Theroux

I received a free copy of this ebook to review from NetGalley, on behalf of the publisher. 

The subtitle of Paul R. Theroux’s Q-23 is a lie. This is not a novel. It barely makes it to novella length, in spite of its chapters.

18330299Kurt Strong’s tennis partner has a problem and it’s throwing off Roger Pate’s game. Roger has invented a revolutionary hair removal stuff called Q-23, but his company—which makes most of its money from shaving gear—refuses to put it into production. It annoys him so much that Roger insists on seeing the head of the company. Roger is shut down again and ruins his tennis game.

Kurt encourages Roger to try again, so Roger goes back to work to talk to his boss, Soly. Soly is caught between his zealous employee and his boss. Roger can’t be dissuaded and won’t take a bribe, which leaves Soly with only one option as far as he sees it. He has to eliminate Roger. Over the course of the next several brief chapters, Roger and Kurt elude Soly’s thugs. When they start their own company, Hair-Ban, Soly tries to blow it all up.

And that’s about it. Q-23 is a caper with an incredibly silly MacGuffin. It’s an amusing way to kill some time.


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